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Staged crashers sentenced to prison in West Virginia

September 12, 2017, Clarksburg, WV — Two of eight individuals who pleaded guilty in an insurance fraud ring have been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution.

Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley sentenced Chasity Costilow, 38, of Clarksburg, to 21 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Represented by attorney Natalie Sal, Costilow was ordered to pay about $65,100 restitution for her mail fraud conviction.

Bryce Martin, 26, of Fairmont, was sentenced to 6 months behind bars, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, also for mail fraud.

Represented by attorney William Pennington, Martin owes about $152,600 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Cogar prosecuted, while the West Virginia Insurance Commission Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated.

The group was alleged to have staged wrecks and accompanying injuries in Harrison, Marion and Taylor counties to get insurance payouts.

Co-defendants Michael Sine, 34, of Fairmont (mail fraud), and Eric Warner, 34, of Clarksburg (mail fraud), are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday by Keeley.

Co-defendants Robin Stoneking, 56, of Fairmont (mail fraud), Charles Bonner, 34, of Morgantown (mail fraud), and Dallas Lewis, 55, of Clarksburg (conspiracy to commit mail fraud, considered an organizer), are scheduled for sentencing Oct. 4.

Co-defendant Martin Stoneking, 25, of Fairmont (mail fraud), is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 2.


— Michael Edward Hurst, 47, of Lumberport, has been given a 120-day jail sanction for violating his probation.

Hurst used opiates, didn’t report to probation and the Day Report Center as required, and also failed to complete community service within the required time period.

Harrison Circuit Judge Thomas A. Bedell indicated he might consider a sentencing reduction if defense attorney Tom Dyer is successful in placing Hurst in a nine-month addiction treatment center in Huntington or Beckley. Part of that will depend on whether Assistant Prosecutor Gina Renzelli, who sought the 120-day jail sanction, would support such a placement instead of jail.

Hurst is on probation for felony wanton endangerment with a firearm. He served a 60-day jail sanction for a prior probation revocation.

Hurst spent time in prison for one count of wanton endangerment and then was released Dec. 15, 2013, to begin 5 years of probation on a second wanton endangerment count.

Hurst initially had been charged with attempted murder of a police officer.

— A 21-year-old Salem man has been ordered to the Anthony Correctional Center for young offenders after he was found to have violated his probation.

Brandon Lee Stout was placed on probation for 2 years in June for breaking and entering after he failed to complete a pretrial diversion.

Stout did little of what he was supposed to do on probation, absconding quickly, getting charged with felony possession with intent to deliver by Bridgeport Patrol Officer Aaron Lantz of Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team South, then testing positive for meth and marijuana.

Assistant Prosecutor Zach Houchin asked the court to send Stout to prison. Deputy Chief Defender Perry Jones requested either the Anthony Correctional Center or some other sanction short of prison.

Bedell opted for Anthony, telling Stout the court was confident he could complete the program for young offenders.

The consideration came due to Stout’s lack of prior criminal history, his youth and the clear impact his drug addiction had on his actions.

If Stout completes Anthony, he will be placed on probation.

Otherwise, he likely will be looking at prison.

— Jamie Lynn Hardy pleaded guilty Tuesday before Harrison Chief Judge James A. Matish to felony possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, and misdemeanor receiving/transferring stolen property.

The court then ordered Hardy, 21, of Clarksburg, to the Anthony Correctional Center for young offenders, according to Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Roberts.

— Travis Dale Elder, 37, of Lumberport, has been sentenced in Harrison County Magistrate Court to 26 days in jail — time served pending prosecution — for misdemeanor domestic battery.

Elder’s plea to that crime resolved a case in which he had been charged with felony strangulation by State Police Cpl. Baron Claypool.

Elder was represented by Assistant Defender Eric Householder. Assistant Prosecutor Brad Pustolski substituted at Tuesday’s hearing for Chief Assistant Prosecutor Laura Pickens.

Source: The Exponent Telegram

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